Committee Minutes - 20 May 2019

Summary of Actions

Number Action
2.1 L’OC and SD to liaise on discussions with Royal Parks on the options for a duathlon in Hyde Park
2.2 SB will follow up on outstanding volunteer offer
5.1 KB will organise a meeting to discuss Lanzarote planning 
5.2 L’OC/SB/KB will liaise on pricing for Lanzarote 
5.3 SW to explore putting a poster up in the club room for Lanzarote 
6.1 Committee members to provide SB with wording for Life Member certificates 
7.1 RN to follow up in relation to the club’s athletics offering 
7.2 TP to set out for the committee his suggestions for restructure of Endurance Running role 
7.3 SB to send committee members the website description of their respective roles for review and edits 
7.4 MSmith to discuss possible new juniors coach with Everyone Active 

1. Attendees and apologies

Attendees: Lan O’Connor (LO’C), Rhiannon Needham (RN), Sue Barty (SB), Sid Wills (SW), Tom Poynton (TP), Peter Clarke (PC),  Samantha Day (SD), Sarah Maisey (SM), Kim Boursnell (KB)

Apologies: Alex Elferink (AE), Maureen Seguin (MS), Mark Smith (MSmith), Jamie Giles (JG)

2. Minutes of previous meeting, matters arising, outstanding actions

The minutes of the previous meeting were duly approved.

All attending reviewed the summary of actions which were reported as duly completed, save as identified below.

Number Action
2.1 SB will raise the question of investment policies at the next round table meeting of the local running clubs
2.2 SD will liaise with Royal Parks and discuss options for a duathlon in Hyde Park 
4.1 SB will contact the Sports and Recreation Alliance to see if they have any suggestions in relation to finding a bookkeeper
4.2 RN will see if there is any indication of the time spent by the previous bookkeeper in the invoices
5.1 All to follow up with those who have expressed interest in helping, and to liaise where someone has expressed interest in more than one area
6.1 RN to make enquiries in relation to Lanzarote planning team for 2020 
6.2 SM/all to consider early launch party for Lanzarote 
7.1 SD will pull together details about the financial position in relation to the New Year’s Day 10K race
7.2 SB and KB will liaise on issues relating to promotion of the NYD 10K race
7.3 KB will review possibility of a year planner for communications

 15 April 2019

Number Action
6.1 L’OC to arrange a meeting to discuss the club's investment policy
7.1 RN and L’OC to discuss club support for tri events with AE

L’OC offered to work with SD on discussions with Royal Parks on the options for a duathlon in Hyde Park, and both will liaise with Malcolm French.
All on the committee reviewed the various responses received from members who were offering to help. All these members had received responses, and had been followed up, with one exception, who had offered to help to organise races, events and trips or participation and membership. SB will follow up on this offer.

3. Conflict of interest report

There were no conflicts of interest reported.

4. Finance

RN confirmed the current position on the club’s accounts.

There was continuing discussion about trying to fill the bookkeeper role. L’OC raised a query about one item from the accounts, which was explained by RN.

L’OC handed over the cash book from Lanzarote. 

5. Lanzarote

There was further discussion with regard to planning for the 2020 Lanzarote trip. A number of people have expressed interest in helping to plan and organise the trip. KB will send an email to all with a view to organising a meeting to discuss this further. The number of rooms needs to be confirmed by 28 May. The committee discussed the number of rooms to book for the trip. L’OC had suggested 70 rooms and had discussed this with Richard Jones, who had agreed that this seemed a sensible and achievable number. Next year there may well be a similar event to the Montenegro trip, which might impact on the number going to Lanzarote, but all agreed that it would be good to encourage more first timers to attend. There was some discussion on how best to finalise the pricing – the team will liaise with those previously involved on pricing. After discussion, it was agreed that those attending the trip will again be asked to book their own flights, but that, as suggested by SM, people would be encouraged to book certain identified flights and then, as happened in practice this year, transfers would be arranged to meet those flights. Anyone choosing an alternative flight which has not been chosen by enough other members would be asked to arrange their own transfers.

RN was concerned that planning for Lanzarote should start as soon as possible, not least because of the risk being held by the club, which had threatened to cause real financial problems this year. It was suggested that marketing for the trip might include updates on numbers etc, designed to encourage people to sign up, and to sign up sooner rather than later. SW suggested that a poster should be put up in the club room, particularly to encourage new people to join the trip.  

The committee had also agreed on the amount of the refund to be paid to members on the 2017 Lanzarote trip. Those members will be notified accordingly by email. It was noted that payment will be very time consuming for RN, and a date by which refunds are applied for should also be given. The committee also agreed that there should be compensation by way of a reduction off the cost of the 2020 trip offered to one of the 2019 Lanzarote organising team who had committed significant amounts of time to the organisation of the 2019 trip, but who had been unable to go and therefore unable to take the benefit of the contribution to that trip.

6. Awards

There was some preliminary discussion about the club’s awards. SB reminded committee members about the awards. There was particular discussion about the still new Innovations Cup which had not been awarded last year. A proposal was made for a recipient for this award, which was agreed by all on the committee. However, it would be good to remind people about this cup. Other possible recipients were discussed for the other club awards.

The committee then reviewed two proposals for Life Membership. SB reminded committee members that Life Membership was ordinarily to be granted in recognition of a significant personal contribution to the club’s affairs. Both candidates had been proposed at the committee meeting held on 17 December, which had been properly convened. Both candidates received the unanimous support of the committee present and voting at this subsequent properly convened committee meeting, and both were therefore declared duly elected. 

7. Items from committee reports

TP raised the issue of the club athletics as raised in his report. RN will contact Ian Hodge to discuss this further. RN felt strongly that athletics was an important part of the club’s offering. There was some discussion as to how best to promote this and to encourage people to train as officials (including as starting officials). It was agreed that it would be good to feature those who have recently qualified as officials in Club News and, if possible, also in Serpentimes. L’OC queried the extent of the issue and as to how many officials were needed and at what level. RN will follow this up.

TP is keen to restructure the Endurance Running committee role and will set out his thoughts. All committee members agreed that it would be sensible to review the job description for their respective roles and provide edits. SB will send each committee member a version of the description to edit.

PC raised the issue of succession planning for juniors. There is a possible new coach who might be interested in helping but would want to receive some payment. This would help also on the succession planning. It would be a good idea for MSmith to discuss this with Everyone Active.

Members of the committee congratulated SM (and Luke Parker) on the successful organisation of the Green Belt Relay.

8. Next committee meeting

SB suggested 17 June for the next committee meeting. This was agreed. SB will confirm to all committee members. 

9. Any other business 

SM raised the issue of reducing the club’s carbon footprint and is planning to send a survey to club members to receive views on this. This relates to race t-shirts, race medals etc. It was suggested that MSmith might also be involved in this.

L’OC raised an interesting article in Athletics Weekly on ultra running.

Committee Reports

Honorary Chair

I didn’t submit a report last month as I was ill. This report covers March and April.
In March we were taken up with finalising running and following up on the 2019 Lanzarote camp. I was engaged as organiser and coach during the camp itself. We had about 60 people on the camp, some with accommodation booked through the club Lanzarote organisers and some managing their own accommodation. All went well with very positive feedback and the financial management of the event looks to be under control. Once the Treasurer has finalised the details we can close the books on Lanza 2019. We are currently looking for volunteers for Lanzarote 2020 and have had a good response to the call for a team. A handover meeting to take advantage of lessons learned is scheduled for mid-May. Thank you to those who have put your hand up!
On the topic of volunteers I issued a call for volunteers, which generated a good response and we are currently as a committee looking at the skills and talents offered and figuring out how best to accommodate the great and generous interest and help offered.
I reviewed the options for an online club kit room and will review these with the committee and the committee member responsible for club kit.
We have onboarded new committee members and have had a few new member evenings – thank you Catharine Sowerby for taking the initiative! I attended one of the new member evenings and will come to future ones for sure.
I am also following up on the repayment of the surplus from Lanzarote 2017 camp to those who participated. An update will be shared shortly.
Other items which came up are dealt with in other committee members’ reports, such as the change in our usage and payment for the track at Paddington.

Honorary Treasurer

I have little to report this month.

We are still on the hunt for a new Bookkeeper especially as YE for the accounts has occured and we are keen to get someone onboard as quickly as possible. If anyone knows who is interested, please email or speak to me.

I have been paying the club's expenses and invoices. 

Honorary Secretary

Since the last meeting, apart from the usual tasks and dealing with the usual busy inbox, I attended a meeting of the Round Table of Local Running Clubs. This one was kindly hosted by London City Runners. Although there were not a lot of running clubs represented at this meeting (maybe the slightly East of the City location put people off), we had some really useful discussions. In particular, we discussed a proposal from SEAA in relation to funding for their competitions, to operate a scheme whereby running clubs would be charged at £2 or £3 per member by means of an affilaition fee, based on the number of EA affiliated athletes in the club. I had obtained helpful comments from our perspective from Malcolm French, Ian Hodge and Daisy Gladstone, which I was able to share. Such a scheme would be disproportionate for a club such as Serpentine. Indeed, none of the clubs was in favour of the SEAA proposal. So, in addition to our own response, a combined response was sent from the Round Table group to the SEAA. Acknowledgements have been received. There were also issues discussed about access to London parks for running clubs, where, again, there were similar issues experienced by the different clubs.

We have also been spending quite a bit of time on Lanzarote - to address imminent deadlines for the 2020 trip, some outstanding issues from the 2019 trip, and, also, finally, sorting out the refund for the 2017 trip. Lan and Kim have also been significantly involved on Lanzarote.


I have only a few items to share this month.

Following an email appeal for Lanza 2020 volunteers, I arranged a planning kick-off meeting with our new team members. Further news out to the club members will follow shortly.  Many thanks to Ahlem and Charlie, for sharing valuable information and insight from this year's trip planning as we get ready to launch for 2020.

I held a Beekeeper training session for one club member and supported various members with news items, club mailouts and facebook posts. 

Coralie Frost -  one of our fantastic Social Media fairies -  has stepped down from her volunteering role for the time being - thank you Coralie, for being one of our Twitter channel voices!  I am now looking to recruit a couple of volunteers to help with the club Twitter and Facebook pages - and happy to hear from anyone interested.


Attention now needs to be paid to succession planning as some key resources (organisation and coaching) are stepping down or aside shortly for personal reasons - including emigration, clashes with work commitments and the production of potential future Serpie Juniors! We have had offers of help from some club members already which has been really encouraging and appreciated. Head Coach Rachelle Dinsdale has an other coaching resource in mind but she would be looking at this as a paid opportunity, so we will resume contact with EA/Westminster to update and agree the new Service Level Agreement and see if it can cover this cost - see also Strategic Partnerships' report. The next MYAL fixture is on Saturday 25th May and we are hoping for a good turnout.

Club Runs & Mentoring

Little to report this month.

Held LWM and have now ended the use of plastic cups in the club room.

I have purchased solid plastic wine glasses. I have some I use for picnics etc and they are still ok after 11 years.

Set up new Wednesday committee Rota.

Beginners still remain but I am calling it a RUNTALK EA group. Hopefully I will also bring in people who are nervous about joining a club.

Attended Royal Parks stakeholder meeting with Malcolm French. 


Numbers of swimmers at Seymour has been increasing steadily. Conversely numbers at London Bridge are down and there are spaces on the block.

The trip to Montenegro was a great success. Great event, fantastic place to race and the organisers made us feel very welcome. There is already talk of a return there or another similar trip next year. 


London Marathon
A great day for the club on 28 April, with our men’s team retaining their team gold (three to score), and our women making great progress to finish in sixth place within an increasingly competitive field, with a number of big PBs. Particular congratulations to Nick Torry, who ran 2:16:21, giving him an age-grading of 94.1% and an England Athletics individual bronze medal. Overall, we had 105 club members finishing within five hours, with 57 gaining an age-grading of 70% or more, demonstrating once again how far sustained hard work under our capable experienced coaching team can take you.
The Welsh Castles Relay takes place on 8-9 June, with lots of hard work going on to get our two teams ready and with travel and accommodation booked – many thanks to everyone who has stepped forward to get involved, in particular Sophie Flanagan, Megan Roberts, Tash Sheel and Adrian Kerr.
The Green Belt Relay takes place on 18-19 May (after I’ve sent this report but before the committee meeting) - many thanks to Sarah Maisey and Luke Parker for all their hard work on this. Once again we have four teams entered (men’s women’s, mixed and veterans categories).
Sports psychologist seminar 3 June
Have arranged for Dan Robinson, a PhD student involved in the England Athletics Marathon Programme to come in to discuss his research on fatigue amongst experienced highly-motivated marathon runners. This should be of particular interest to our faster runners and I look forward to an interesting discussion.
Track and field
Our home league match in the Southern Counties Veterans League took place on Monday 13 May – many thanks to Ian Hodge and Malcolm French for all their hard work, although we really do need more people to step forward to volunteer and share the workload more equitably – please do let me know if you can do this.
North London Cross Country Championships
In my last report I mentioned our work to influence their decision-making on possibly moving to a single race for men and women, with both racing over a five mile course – I hope to report back again soon.
Met League
Our last committee meeting took place on the same evening as the Met League AGM – thanks to Tash Sheel for attending, and for all her hard work to canvass the views of members and representing them at the meeting. Somewhat to my surprise, the Met League voted to equalise race distances between 7 and 8k, to be reviewed in 2020, and we will be working in the next 12 months to encourage more of our members to take part (and to win!).
Summer League
The first of five races takes place 2 June – we do still need a few people to help out at each race to register runners, organise relay teams etc so please do let me know if you would like to do this. We will be hosting the final race on 11 August (a week later than originally announced) and we will contact club members in due course as there will be much more work to do for example marshalling and providing baked goods.
Assembly League
The second race took place on 2 May – many thanks to Frances Ngu and Abu Asad for their work on the night registering our runners and handing out race numbers. With the league moving to online registration, we need someone to step forward at each race to note down each club member who attends, what their race number is, and their age category, and to then submit them online to the race organisers. Please do let me know if you would like to do this – it won’t take long to do and will enable fellow club members to get their results processed. The third and fourth races (6 June and 4 July) will be held at Leyton Jubilee Park and Crystal Palace respectively. More details of each race will be sent out soon. 

Strategic Partnerships

Discussions with EveryOne Active regarding the Juniors SLA ongoing; priorities updating the club discounts and offers to members on the website. 

Club kit

I have placed an order for vests, t shirts, long sleeved shirts, fluo tops, hoodies, team jackets, and soft shell jackets. The incoming stock should cover us until the end of this fiscal year.


The post London marathon celebrations at the Buckingham Arms were a great success and the pub kindly gave us a couple of bottles of complementary bubbly to celebrate our victories. I have written to the staff to say thank you and book for next year!
Elizabeth Ayres has been doing great work organising for a Serpentine team takeover in the London Relay throughout Sunday 14th July. This has been advertised widely on Facebook and I’ll advertise through the Serpie website/ email groups shortly.
I have been following up on potential venues for the summer party and aim to get a date and venue pinned down within the next couple of weeks so we can start advertising it. Having investigated a few options which were either too expensive or not available, I’m currently in conversation with the events coordinator for the Youngs pubs to see if we can host at one of their venues. It looks likely a suitable option will come out of this but I will also continue exploring other options until something is fixed.
There is a core group of Serpies who are very proactively keen to get involved in the social scene including helping organise the summer party. It has been difficult to pin down a suitable date for all of us to meet due to people being away a lot in the last month (mostly myself!) but the coming month is a little quieter so I’m looking to confirm a meeting within the next week. 

Race organisation

I haven't as yet coordinated the distribution of the role's tasks with Lee Tolentino, but will when he is back from his trip.

The Vets Track and field home match went well, but as mentioned in other reports, the track and field requirement for volunteers is at a critical stage generally, with too few officials amongst the various clubs, for key roles such as starter, field judges and so on.
We need some enthusiastic volunteers to take the relevant courses and be available to help with some home and away matches. Please contact the committee if you are interested.

We will be looking for volunteers for our other home events and club championship races as well as the usual call outs for the handicap and the last Friday of the month races.
Our volunteers are a vital part of the sustainability of club athletics, so please consider giving up some of your time for this worthy cause.

Thank you to all those who have volunteered.